By Molly K. Hooper - 08/30/10 10:00 AM EDT
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) intends to broadcast his differences with the Obama administration’s national security policy in his second major policy address in as many weeks.
The top-ranking House Republican, who supported President Obama’s request for additional troops in Afghanistan, will highlight his growing concerns “about how Washington is implementing the new strategy there,” a Boehner aide told The Hill.
“He will also discuss the war on terrorism, this administration's handling of attempted terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and its lack of a comprehensive strategy to confront and defeat the terrorist threat,” the aide explained.
Boehner intends to touch on another hot-button topic these days: Israel.
“He will discuss the Middle East, our steadfast commitment to Israel and the need to remain vigilant against efforts by the Iranians to acquire a nuclear weapon and expand [Iran's] influence in the region,” the aide said.
Boehner’s speech coincides with that of President Obama, who is scheduled to give a primetime address on Iraq on Tuesday, the day of the final drawdown of combat troops in the country.
GOP aides point out that Boehner was booked to give his national security speech before the 92nd Annual American Legion convention before the president announced his intention to address the nation from the Oval Office.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are also booked to address the annual convention of the nation’s largest veteran service organization.
A Boehner aide said the Ohio lawmaker “will discuss Iraq, the progress that has been made by our troops and the success of the surge strategy that was opposed by then-Sens. Obama and Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.”
On Friday, Boehner released a two-and-a-half-minute video echoing that message, complete with soundbites of the Democratic leaders saying at the time that the surge wouldn’t work.
President Obama said in his weekly Saturday address that as a candidate for president, he pledged to end the war in Iraq, and he has made good on that promise.
“As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As president, that is what I am doing. We have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office,” Obama said, adding that the “wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now make up America’s longest continuous combat engagement.”